Friday, April 17, 2015

Guest Room Sneak Peek

I've been working on a guest bedroom recently and I'm really excited at how it's coming along. I thought I'd give you a little sneak peek.  Now you can be as excited as I am!

Stay tuned for the final reveal, as well as details on how I set up the room for guests!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Salted Dark Chocolate No Bake Cookies

I recently found myself in a bit of a pinch. It was T minus 30 minutes and I was trying to get everyone ready to go to a friends' house for dinner, when I remembered that I was supposed to be bringing a dessert.  I had set some butter out earlier to try a new recipe, but when two little boys both decide that they're not going to nap, things get a little hairy.

It briefly crossed my mind to stop by the store on the way and pick up a bag of my husband's favorite chocolate sandwich cookies. Then I remembered these little gems from the 2013 edition of 12 days of cookies. My no-fail no-bake cookies!  I had just enough time to whip up a batch of them and get them plated, throw some diapers in the diaper bag, and run out the door.

I decided to do a little upgrade on these cookies - the classic no-bake revisited.  Don't get me wrong-they're great as they are, but I wanted to take them from great to gourmet, and the result was amazing!!  A little less sweet, extra dark, with just the right hint of salt.  *Note: if you're trying to avoid peanuts, these are great with your favorite nut or seed butter - just substitute straight across.

Salted Dark Chocolate No Bake Cookies
Mix butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.  Boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat, add peanut butter, and stir until melted.  Mix in vanilla and oats.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Sprinkle with kosher salt and cool until set.  Work quickly, because the salt doesn't stick as well once the cookies have cooled.  Gently press the salt into the cookies if necessary. 

Makes 5-6 dozen

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Colcannon Cakes, or Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

So, St. Patrick's Day is over and you made too much of the colcannon. What are you going to do? Of course, you could just reheat it and eat a meal of leftovers, but what if you've done that already and you still have more? (You seriously made tons! It’s ok…I’ve been there too.) Try these "Colcannon Cakes" instead.

Over dinner my husband and I tried to come up with some fancy name, comparing this "mash-up" of Irish colcannon and Jewish latkes ("colcatcas," latkannon..."). And while the fancy names didn't really work, the food definitely did!

Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. This is a great way to use up leftover colcannon (or regular mashed potatoes, for that matter).

Colcannon Cakes with Lemon Cream
  • 3 cups chilled colcannon
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour (*see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Coconut oil, for frying
  • fresh or dried Thyme
Lemon Cream
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

* Note: the consistency of the colcannon varies, depending on how much water you drained out and how much butter you added. If it looks too dry after combining the ingredients, add another egg.  If it's too wet, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the colcannon, cheese, egg, flour, salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add about 1 Tbsp coconut oil.

Drop large spoonfuls of the mixture onto the pan and spread them out slightly.  Cook until they’re golden brown and crispy on both sides.  Add more oil to the pan as needed between batches.  Note: Don’t overcrowd the pan and don’t flip the pancakes too soon or they won’t develop that nice, crisp crust. 

Serve warm with Lemon Cream.  Sprinkle with fresh or dried thyme leaves. 

Lemon Cream

Mix together the Greek yogurt and lemon juice.  Add more of either one to taste.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Authentic Irish Colcannon

I'm very proud of my Irish heritage and a few years ago I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some time in Ireland. While I was there I picked up a great little cookbook that I find myself going back to over and over.  Not only does it have great traditional recipes, but it also gives a brief history of each recipe.

Colcannon is a mash made of white vegetables, typically served at the midday meal. In fact, it was the centerpiece of the traditional harvest dinner, and eating more or less daily.  Colcannon is made from a mixture of raw, white vegetables that are heavily seasoned and layered in a giant saucepan.  Once finished cooking, it would be ladled out in huge servings to the men coming in from the fields, and of course, topped with fresh country butter.  At Halloween, coins are wrapped in foil and buried in the colcannon for children to discover as they eat.

If you're used to a typical St. Patrick's Day dish of Corned Beef and Cabbage, try the Colcannon instead next time. It's definitely worth it, in fact, it's so good you should definitely make it more often than just March 17!

Authentic Irish Colcannon
  • 1 medium-sized head white cabbage
  • 2 medium-sized parsnips
  • 3-4 medium-sized onions
  • 8-10 medium-sized potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pint water (2 1/2 cups)
  • 4 oz butter (1/2 cup)

Cut cabbage into four, remove stumps and wash each leaf thoroughly in salt and water. Put four or five outer leaves aside, chop the remaining leaves finely.

Wash and scrape parsnips, remove skins from the onions (I also peeled the potatoes). Cut parsnips, onions and potatoes into half inch slices.

Arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a saucepan, cover with a layer or parsnips, then a layer of onion, the a layer of cabbage; season well, continue layering the vegetables and again season well.

Pour water over the vegetables and cover vegetables completely with the outer leaves. Put the lid on the saucepan, bring to the boil and cover; simmer until cooked, 25-30 minutes.

Strain off any excess water. Remove the outer leaves of cabbage. Mash the vegetables well, add the butter and mix well. Put into a serving dish. Serve hot with plenty of creamy butter. Serves 4-6.

St. Patrick's Day Fun - Roundup!

St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow and I'm so excited!  Growing up, I don't remember doing a whole lot to celebrate this holiday.  Maybe some green food, definitely wearing green, but that's basically it.  Then when I was in high school, we moved to Butte, MT where St. Patrick's Day is seriously a big deal!  I'm talking big - parties and celebrating go on all week (if not all month!).  Around this time, I also learned that I have a lot of family from Ireland only a couple generations back.

Between that and Pinterest, I absolutely love this holiday, and all the fun and creative ways I can celebrate my Irish heritage.  This year we'll be trying out some fun activities with my two year old as well as eating some fun "green" food during the day, like my "Shamrock" Frittata (yummy, healthy, and green!). For dinner, we'll have a more traditional meal of Corned Beef and Colcannon.  To keep this post from getting too long, I'm posting my authentic Colcannon recipe separately.  Trust me - you're definitely going to want to try it!  It's so good.

In the mean time, check out these awesome ideas to make your St. Patrick's Day totally stellar.

Yummy Treats






Fun Crafts and Activities



Cute Decor




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